Fall is quickly approaching which means school is starting, extra curricular activities need to be chosen, and homework is piling up! The question is, how will you be able to make fitness a priority for your child or teen? It can seem redundant to beg a child to complete a workout they don’t want to do. Since you want the term ‘workout’ to have a positive association- don’t force it. As a youth fitness trainer and athletic trainer for over 6 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to make workouts a priority is to make them enjoyable!
Here’s 5 ways to guide your child to focus on fitness in the midst of the upcoming busy school year:
1. “Let’s take 30.”
Homework should always be important to you and your child, but there’s nothing wrong with a break (that’s something we could all learn). Hours of sitting and unending studies aren’t good for the learning process or health of your child. Set up a system where you both agree to “take 30” when you’ve been sitting for too long. Go for a walk, dance to some music, or play a game of basketball. It’s a fun way to break up a heavy homework load!
2. Choose an active extra curricular activity.
Always encourage your child to find new activities they enjoy. Perhaps a sport or dance class would be the preferred way for him or her to get exercise. Childhood is a time to learn what your child is good at, and I’m a huge advocate of exploring all the options! Depending on where you live, there are hundreds of different activities to try: martial arts, dance classes, yoga, and various outdoor sports. Help your child choose something they might like and encourage them to continue. Remember, fitness is a lifetime journey. Wouldn’t it be great if they found a passion for an activity to carry with them as they grow?
3. Family fun days!
I always talk about how important family support is, but it’s true! If you prioritize active family time, your child will learn to prioritize it as well. The weekends are generally slower than the school week, so take advantage of the extra time! Go for a walk, play Just Dance on the Wii, or go to your fitness club together and teach your child some workouts you know. Make it a family affair!
4. Bring friends along.
Friends are important to the youth years, and many kids want to spend their free time with their friends. That’s great! Invite them. Next time your child has a play date, suggest taking them to the park or to the pool to swim. The kids will be kids, and your child will get some exercise too!
5. Teach them about the importance.
I think this is overlooked a lot by parents because they assume their child won’t understand. Teach your child the benefits of exercise and what will happen if they don’t. Tell them that exercise is a privilege and how much more enjoyable life will be if they choose to live a healthy life. Everyone makes choices based on incentives, and you can’t expect your child to prioritize fitness if they don’t have one too. This may just motivate them!
Remember, workouts don’t need to be lengthy or extremely intense for children. There is always time for things that are important to you. The trick is to find activities your child likes that are important to them. In turn, they won’t see exercise as a chore. Here’s to trying something new this school year and making fitness a priority!
By Paytra Gessler, Certified Youth Fitness Trainer, Certified ISSA Fitness Professional
For more great tips or to find out more about our services, contact Bonita@EnergeticJuniors.com, or call 212-879-1566. Also check out our website at www.energeticjuniors.com.